Midwest League
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Midwest League

Midwest League
Midwest League.PNG
Replaced byHigh-A Central
PresidentRichard A. Nussbaum II[1]
No. of teams16
CountryUnited States
South Bend Cubs (2019)[2]
Most titlesWisconsin Timber Rattlers and Lansing Lugnuts (9)
ClassificationClass A
TV partner(s)Fox Sports Midwest
Official websitewww.midwestleague.com

The Midwest League was a Minor League Baseball league, established in 1947 and based in the Midwestern United States. It was classified as a Class A league.

The Midwest League began as the Illinois State League (1947-1948), then became the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League (1949-1955). In 1956, the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League was renamed the Midwest League.[3][4] In its final years, the league had 16 teams in two divisions.[5] The Lansing Lugnuts and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers franchises jointly have won the most league championships, with nine each.

The Midwest League was replaced by the new High-A Central league.


The Midwest League directly evolved from two earlier leagues in the region. In 1947, the Class D Illinois State League (ISL) began operation with six Illinois teams – the Belleville Stags, Centralia Cubs, Marion Indians, Mattoon Indians, Mount Vernon Braves and the West Frankfort Cardinals. In 1949, the ISL changed its name to the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League after Marion moved their franchise to Kentucky and became the Paducah Chiefs. In 1954, the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League expanded, adding teams in Clinton and Dubuque, Iowa. The Mississippi-Ohio Valley League was then renamed Midwest League in 1956.

The original teams in 1956, the first year of Midwest League play, were: Clinton Pirates, Decatur Commodores, Dubuque Packers, Kokomo Dodgers, Lafayette Red Sox, Mattoon Phillies, Michigan City White Caps and the Paris Lakers. Mattoon is the oldest franchise in the MWL, evolving into today's Fort Wayne TinCaps, while Clinton is the oldest MWL locale.[6]

In 1960, the Davenport, Iowa based Quad City Braves joined the league as an expansion team. In 1962, Appleton, Burlington, and Cedar Rapids joined the Midwest League from the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League which folded operations when those franchises switched leagues.[4] All those franchised remain in the league today. In 1963, the Midwest League was designated as a Class A league, after the minor league classification structure was reorganized.[7]

The 1975 Waterloo Royals, led by future MLB All-Stars Willie Wilson and Dan Quisenberry, are ranked #60 on MiLB.com's Top 100 Teams. The Royals finished the season 93-35.[8]

In 1976, the Midwest League contracted from ten teams to eight, as franchises in Danville and Dubuque were eliminated. In 1982, the league expanded from 8 to 12 teams, adding the Beloit Brewers, the Danville Suns, the Madison Muskies, and the Springfield Cardinals. The Peoria Suns relocated from Danville in 1983, and acquired their current name, Peoria Chiefs, the following year. In 1988, the league began splitting its season into two halves and expanded from 12 to 14 teams, with the addition of franchises in South Bend, Indiana, and Rockford, Illinois. During the 1990s several teams changed cities as Major League Baseball placed higher standards on minor league baseball facilities; franchises in smaller cities were sold to new owners who moved those teams to new ballparks in larger cities. Kenosha, Madison, Rockford, Springfield, Waterloo, and Wausau lost teams during this decade while Battle Creek, Dayton, Fort Wayne, Grand Rapids (West Michigan), Kane County, and Lansing gained teams.[4]

The 1978 Appleton Foxes are ranked #93 on the Top-100 All Time teams by MiLB.com.[9] Led by future Cy Young Award winner LaMarr Hoyt, the team finished 97-40. Harry Chappas, Ross Baumgarten and Britt Burns were all called up to the parent Chicago White Sox at the conclusion of the MWL season. The 97 wins by the Foxes remains a Midwest League record.[9]

The Fort Wayne TinCaps are the oldest franchise in the league, having begun as the Mattoon Indians in 1947 and playing in Keokuk, Iowa; Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin; and Kenosha, Wisconsin, before moving to Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1993. The Clinton LumberKings have been in one city longer than any Midwest League team, having called Clinton, Iowa, home since 1954.

The Southwest Michigan Devil Rays moved to Midland, Michigan, and became the Great Lakes Loons prior to the 2007 season.

On September 2, 2008, Minor League Baseball announced that two teams would transfer from the fellow Class A South Atlantic League to the Midwest League: the Lake County Captains (an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians playing in Eastlake, Ohio) and the Bowling Green Hot Rods (an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays playing in Bowling Green, Kentucky).[10]

The start of the 2020 season was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic before ultimately being cancelled on June 30.[11][12]

The league ceased operations before the 2021 season and was replaced by the new High-A Central in conjunction with Major League Baseball's reorganization of Minor League Baseball.[13] The Bowling Green Hot Rods moved to the new High-A East and the Clinton LumberKings, Kane County Cougars, and Burlington Bees were not invited to continue in affiliated baseball.[14][15] The Kane County Cougars joined the independent American Association of Professional Baseball; the Clinton LumberKings and the Burlington Bees joined the collegiate summer Prospect League.

League champions

Teams since 1956

See also


  1. ^ "About the Midwest League". MiLB.com. 2019. Retrieved 2019. President / Secretary / Legal Counsel: Richard A. Nussbaum II
  2. ^ King, Brendan (September 15, 2019). "South Bend Cubs win Midwest League Championship by sweeping Clinton". MiLB.com. Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^ "Mississippi-Ohio Valley League (D) Encyclopedia and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Midwest League (A) Encyclopedia and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ "The Official Site of The Midwest League". Midwest League. Retrieved 2018.
  6. ^ "1956 Midwest League". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2018.
  7. ^ Cronin, John (Spring 2013). "Truth in the Minor League Class Structure: The Case for the Reclassification of the Minors - Society for American Baseball Research". sabr.org. Retrieved 2018.
  8. ^ Weiss, Bill; Wright, Marshall (2001). "Top 100 Teams - MiLB.com History - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com. Retrieved 2018.
  9. ^ a b Weiss, Bill; Wright, Marshall (2001). "Top 100 Teams - MiLB.com History - The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". MiLB.com. Retrieved 2018.
  10. ^ Czerwinski, Kevin T. (September 2, 2008). "Lake County, Bowling Green shifting to MWL". MiLB.com. Retrieved 2018.
  11. ^ "A Message From Pat O'Conner". Minor League Baseball. March 13, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  12. ^ "2020 Minor League Baseball Season Shelved". Minor League Baseball. June 30, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  13. ^ Reichard, Kevin (February 12, 2021). "Minor League Baseball Overhaul Unveiled". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved 2021.
  14. ^ Reichard, Kevin (December 14, 2020). "Rays revamp farm system, adding Charleston and promoting Bowling Green". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved 2020.
  15. ^ Birch, Tommy. "What's next for the Clinton LumberKings and Burlington Bees after losing MLB affiliations". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 2020.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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